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WNIJ Perspectives
Perspectives are commentaries produced by and for WNIJ listeners, from a panel of regular contributors and guests. You're invited to comment on or respond to any Perspective on our Facebook page or through Twitter (@wnijnews), in keeping with our Discussion Policy. If you would like to submit your own Perspective for consideration, send us a script that will run about 90 seconds when read -- that's about 250 words -- and email it to NPR@niu.edu, with "Perspectives" in the subject line.

Something Worth Saving


I have this clear, glass jar, about four inches tall. It used to hold maraschino cherries.

I save jars. I save a lot of stuff in case I might need it someday.

I picked up this habit from my dad and his generation that had to make do with whatever they had, or could find — or had saved.

This jar still can’t be tossed away, because of what is still in it.

The jar was half full of ashes. They were poured from an urn on the day we took Dad to his final rest at Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery south of Joliet.

We saved those few ashes for a second memorial, which recently took place at Shabbona Lake State Park.

Shabbona Lake was Dad’s new job site after he retired. His job was fishing -- catching crappie. His office was a small jon boat, the one with the red railing around all the sides.

For our memorial, we rented a pontoon boat; and Denny, a fishing buddy and friend of the family, had his boat also.

We anchored over Dad’s favorite crappie “crib.” Denny lifted his horn and blew “Taps” over the water.

I opened the small jar of ashes, leaned close to the water and poured. The ashes clouded and blended into the water.

Denny popped an Old Milwaukee (always part of Dad’s fishing tackle) and poured it in.

Now that small jar is in my tackle box. Again, I cannot throw it away, because it still holds traces of ash. 

So I will keep it until the time is right. Until the place is right. There will be water. There will be fishing.

I will dip the jar into the water and finally let the powder gently wash away.

This time I will not keep the jar. I am glad I saved it.

And I think it’s safe to say — and Dad would agree — it served a perfect purpose.

I’m Lonny Cain, and that’s my perspective.

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